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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis to help construct playground with Bentley and KaBOOM!

Published: September 6, 2013
Section: News

Brandeis University, Bentley University and the City of Waltham are collaborating with Waltham Group to make a lasting change for the children in Prospect Hill Terrace by building a state-of-the-art playground.

Waltham Group, Brandeis University’s umbrella term encompassing the many community service groups on campus, works toward the long-term goals of helping the homeless and economically disadvantaged, teaching English to immigrants, fighting hunger and poverty and volunteering with children and the elderly among many other projects. Prospect Hill Terrace, a culturally and linguistically diverse low-income housing development in Waltham, is made up of mostly single-parent families.

This will be a welcome change for the 175 children of Prospect Hill Terrace whose nearest playground is in an unsafe area.

The $85,000 project is supported by funding from UnitedHealthcare, in a joint partnership with KaBOOM!, an organization that has funded the creation of nearly 15,000 playgrounds in America’s underprivileged communities. Partnering with the Waltham Housing Authority and the Waltham Police Department, Brandeis and Bentley submitted a proposal to build a playground, and it was accepted.

“As you may know, Brandeis students have been volunteering in the Prospect Hill community for several years now, and Bentley University also has an interest in serving that community,” said Lindsey Miller, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working for the Brandeis Department of Community Service.

“There have been major efforts to create a safer and more enriching environment for the families living in Prospect Hill, and the playground project is one piece of that. This project is a reflection of the power of collaboration among many partners within the Waltham community,” Miller said.

Saturday, Sept. 14 will be the site preparation day, and Tuesday, Sept. 17 will be the building day. Volunteers will be needed for construction, on-site child care, and food and volunteer registration from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students can sign up to participate in one or more three-hour construction shifts, serve as a Build Captain on building day or work behind the scenes on the Planning or Fundraising committees. According to Miller, the greatest need is for construction volunteers on building day. To volunteer for construction work, students must complete a one-hour training session. Student volunteers have already held fundraising bake sales at the Student Activities Fair as well as other Brandeis community events, and fundraising will continue throughout the year.

Miller emphasized that the completion of the playground is not the final goal of this initiative. “We really envision this as an ongoing partnership, and we intend to remain involved and supportive in this community,” she said.

“In addition to building this playground, we are also renovating the Prospect Hill community center. We will continue to work with Bentley to provide enriching programming for kids and adults, and we will be seeking additional volunteers to maintain this program,” Miller said. The program will eventually provide a free after-school enrichment group for the children of Prospect Hill as well as English language classes and job training for the adults.